CM Pulse-R Headset Review
Reviewed by: BluePanda
Reviewed on: July 29, 2013
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Introduction:
A headset is quite the key element in communication during game play – nothing is worse than "that guy" who tries to type talk in the middle of an epic battle to ask for a health potion. He dies and you let him go – his fault for refusing to "chat." Okay, that may be a little cruel, but really it doesn't take much to have some type of mic plugged in for play. If you can get a headset with some serious sound behind it and a mic that doesn't sound horrible for just a bit a coin; I'd say it's worth it.
Today I will introduce you to the Pulse-R headset from Cooler Master, which I"ve had the blessing to play with for the last couple weeks. It's been so pleasant, I nearly forgot to write up something for you to read. The headset is of the usual CM quality and somehow it comes out to be more affordable than my last favorites at just $89.99 MSRP. Everything about it, spoiler alert, made me fall madly in love with it – you can't have mine, go buy your own. Now get to reading to find out why this headset is definitely worth saving up a few bucks to buy it.
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Closer Look:
So this little toy, CM Storm Pulse-R headset, showed up in pre-retail packaging. It's not exactly what you'll see when it shows up to your door, but you can at least get a concept of neatness with this little black box representation. The inside reads "CM Storm" on the left lid panel. The headset looks clean sitting in the form fitted plastic with the mic held tight in the center. It's very simplistic and clean – quite honestly I'd like if it showed up just like this.
Out of the box, I'm first very impressed with the detachable cable and detachable mic – these are two features I always request/want when I buy/review a headset. It looks pretty nice and feels like high quality straight from the box. A little manual comes with it – not that you'll probably read it, but it does list the specifications and features, which are also listed a few pages ahead if you want to check out the real audiophile details.
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Closer Look:
Looking at the headset alone, it is quite beautiful. It has the essence of being wireless without actually being that way. I love the idea of throwing the cable in the bag separate from wrapping it around my headset to nevertheless get tangled into a huge mess. The pads on the ear cups and headband are super soft and if they are to be leather or not – I'd believe them to be leather by looks and feel – they just look that nice. These are just sexy to start with…
The detachable cable comes with mic and audio plugs along with an additional USB plug for additional power to power some LED lights? What? This is a rather stupid feature – to add a USB connector JUST for lights…I don't understand. I was expecting a USB amp when I first saw it, but after digging into it, it's just for stupid lighting on the ear cups that you can't even see while you are playing. I will just chuck this one up to a fail from CM – though the company usually doesn’t have too many fails and lighting from a USB doesn't have to end it for this headset. Let's hope it has a little more wisdom to share yet.
The other end of the cabling plugs into the headset itself. It's a cable of its own – not a standard micro or mini port cable that you have around. It supports the volume control and everything to the headset. The inline volume control is a little bulky, but with the extra cable length, it isn't bothersome. You have an inline mic mute (plus simply pulling the mic from the headset) and volume up/down control. The mic itself is completely removable with a standard 3.5" plug and is super bendy for your positioning needs (though holds very few positions) and picks up quality sound despite poor placement on your part.
Taking a closer look around the headset, we'll start with a shot of the aluminum plate on the ear cup. It's completely removable with two torx screws on each one. You can pull them off, paint them whatever color you want, put a vinyl wrap on them or do something crazy – make them yours. It's up to you. I like how it's somewhat easy to customize it without fear of breaking something you just bought – this makes up for the silly USB lighting (I guess). Inside the ear cup is a CM storm pattern fabric that just adds a little touch that shows a little effort in the making. It looks real neat and hides the drivers well. It gives a nice overall feel.
The overall headset is also set up to be fit for big heads and us normal "tiny" headed people. I've got a rather small head – I'll admit, I wear kids glasses and have to buy kids sunglasses as well (haha, get all your laughs out), but this headset fits both me and the big headed (literally) hubby without any trouble, and even has room for growth (perhaps for a giant?). The headset has a nice range of sizes with rather small adjustments to get it just right.
All around, the Pulse-R headset is just pretty sexy. It has the looks, the build, and the quality. The black and aluminum look is very classy without any annoying overblown reds or stupid "gaming" colors that overly stand out. You can make them what you want them to be instead. Everything is pretty subtle in looks and even the labeling is tucked neatly by your ear – like being on the bottom of a mouse – well hidden. I'm just falling in love with this headset.
Take a moment to recall my words about the cable. Here's a close-up on the headset plug locations. The big round hole is for the mic to plug in. It clicks loud and takes a little effort to push in. It's notched, but it still almost feels like you might break it. The rounded rectangle box is for that cable plug. It only fits one way. Easy to do, and looks good when it's done (and still clean when you're not using your mic).
And I think we'll end the images with the little rant about that USB port again. Here's the white lighting on the ear cups; and though I didn't love the idea of lighting on a headset at first, the mic does look pretty stellar lit up. It's a quick indication (if you take your headset off) to see if your mic is on or off – personally I'll just check the switch, but still a neat addition.
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Specifications:
Driver: 42mm driver
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 50 ohms
Connector: 3.5mm headphone jack
Cable Length: 3m
Removable Cable: yes
Pick-up Pattern: Omni-Directional
Frequency Response: 100 Hz – 1000Hz
Sensitivity: -42 ± 3dB (0dB = 1V/pa.1KHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 60dB or more
Removable Mic: yes
Volume Control and Mic Mute: yes
Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio/mic port
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Features:
- Optimized for gaming – clear highs and powerful bass.
- Durable aluminum plating – can be removed and customized.
- Cushioned ear cups and headband for noise cancellation and maximum comfort during long gaming sessions.
- Detachable microphone arm with noise canceling mic system for clear in-game team chats.
- Convenient in-line remote with volume slider and mic mute switch.
- Stylish white illuminated earcups and mic (USB powered).
All information is courtesy of: http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=10063&product_name=CM%20Storm%20Pulse-R
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Testing:
Testing the CM Pulse-R headset required some serious music listening sessions, a movie or two, and some intense gaming sessions. Granted, there's no easy way to measure sound quality, but I will do my best to describe any flaws or drawbacks in the sound reproduction that these sound quality oriented headphones can deliver.
- Processors: Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboard: ASUS Z87-Plus
- Memory: Mushkin 993997 Redline PC317000 9-11-10-28 16GB
- Video Card: XFX HD 7970 Black Edition
- Power Supply: CM Silent Pro Hybrid RS-850
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SATA 3
- Optical Drive: N/A
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Results:
Surprisingly this headset has a lot to offer on the gaming side of the world. As you'll soon learn, I've found the CM Pulse-R to be almost designed for listening to music; but, it finds its home in the gaming world as well. Playing a little DiRT 3 this afternoon just to tear up some dirt, I was impressed to be able to hear all the different aspects of the race; the people on the sidelines, the dirt beneath my tires, the slipping of clutch, and of course the popping off the rev limiter. If that wasn't enough, I had to have some fun shooting down some Skagg in Borderlands 2 and scream at my friend in ATL for picking up the good loots. The sound quality through the mic turns out to be great – at least according to my buddy on the other end; said he'd never heard me better. The removable mic really makes it easy to go from relaxing and listening to music to ready to go full gaming in no time at all.
My only complaint, and this could be due to my setup more than anything, is the awful noise associated with connecting USB and the mic and audio ports to the front panel of my case. There's tons of buzz, and general noise that is heard both on my end and on the other end of the mic. However, plugged into the back, directly to the mobo, the issues were resolved…so I can only guess that I in general have some noise front to back with my case.
Movies aren't too bad with the CM Pulse-R either. It's a little dark in sound, keeping the annoying treble out of your face. It keeps the modern tin easier to handle and listen to over long periods of time. I will admit that it doesn't drive loud and in some cases your quieter movies will have to be driven up with other means, otherwise you might just feel like you're left without enough oompf. I guess the real blessing from that is there is no way you will hurt your ears cranking it to its maximum volume. It also won't distort at its maximum either – so in a way it's a win-win, as you know you are safe to bump it all the way up when you reach your favorite scene.
My only concern with this and movies would be that lack of ability to really drive it hard. I'd expect to push the volume just a little more with the inline controls and at 100% in Windows, I'm not completely satisfied. I'd worry that on a plane or in a noise-ridden area, things may be difficult to overpower – but the good quality sound wins out this debate in my mind, as I'll always find a way to turn it up. Besides, this in a way is just more a guarantee that sound won't distort even at its max.
It's almost as if the CM Pulse-R were designed for music and its ability to play quality sounds for gaming was just an added bonus. The levels for music are awesome straight out of the box; well that is if you are a fan of some serious bass. I'm a big fan of some solid bass and these show up for the calling. It's there with the punch without the boomy overdone bass. It still has solid directional sound and balance, despite its strong bass. Without drivers (which I'm happy to not deal with) it can have a bit too much bass for some songs/styles, but overall for a combo headset, it sounds damn good.
CM Storm Pulse-R Headset Conclusion:
If a pair of headphones were ever designed just for me, it would be these. Honestly, out of the box I swore up and down someone read my previous complaints about every set I've reviewed and made these – with everything just right. There's the removable cable, extreme bass, no stupid drivers, no dongles; just a set that sounds the way it should. I'm still under my desk a little as if there were a true skynet listening in on my every thought – the Pulse-R is about everything I've ever wanted in a headset.
I love that I can unplug the cable when I'm on the go rather than wind it tightly around the cups. I've destroyed a few pairs wrapping them up that way, so now it's just tossed in the bag on its own. This headset will be great when I travel for work again, and the padding really keeps the external noise low. My husband was talking to me and I completely missed the entire conversation with just a little music going in the background. I can't wait to block out the screaming babies and snoring old men…
Besides seemingly being made just for me, the CM Pulse-R really and truly are AWESEOME. There are few things that make me this happy, and the others aren't safe for your work reading…so this is the next best you'll get. I'm very excited about this headset and I hope that your ears get to enjoy it soon too. I welcome yet another member to the BluePanda Gold collection.
- BASS!!!! Yes, finally someone gets it.
- Gaming, movies, music, oh my – ready for it all.
- Customizable – aluminum panels come off for paint, vinyl. and more of your liking.
- Detachable cable, with plenty of length to share.
- Detachable mic to discreetly take your gaming set on the go.
- White light on the cups for great ambiance?? Can't really see it…neat I'd assume?
- Limited to crank to 9, on a scale of 1 to 10. There's no 11 on this meter.
- Little warm and tight feeling after long wear.